August 21, 2017

Forgiveness is a hot topic. Everyone likes to talk about completing the task, myself included. In fact, I have even sponsored Dr. Fred Luskin, the director of the Stanford University Forgiveness Project and professor at the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology. Dr. Luskin has written many books on the subject that theorize the various benefits of forgiveness.

The most common view I hear is that forgiveness is about setting yourself free from the pain you are experiencing, not that you are accepting the action of the individual. I happen to agree with this viewpoint, which is something I have shared with my clients. But I would argue there is another aspect to forgiveness: boundaries. You must establish boundaries with yourself and with those around you, especially if the company you keep are poor at maintaining their own sense of self (including boundaries).

If someone in your life keeps crossing an emotional, physical, or spiritual boundary with you, then you need to strengthen the walls by making smart life choices. Sometimes this means cutting the relationship off — an especially difficult decision if it involves a relative. This is a controversial subject for many because “blood is thicker than water,” and family is family. The problem arises because familial relationships are so personal and intimate. As a result, they can hurt us more deeply than other relationships such as work acquaintances and friendships. However, I feel this occasionally must be done if we want the full healing power of forgiveness.

Meditation can help us create and retain strong boundaries in our lives. My favorite — and the one I encourage you to practice if you are facing the struggles of forgiveness — is the Heart Opener (Sat Kartaar) Meditation. Its required movements instill me with strength and security. If I feel I need to work on my boundaries, I also like incorporating the mantra “Ek Ong Kar Sat Guru Prasad Sat Guru Prasad Ek Ong Kar” with any Kundalini meditation.

Next time you need to forgive someone close to you, give these meditation prompts a try. While exploring this yogic technique, think about the boundaries between you and the individual you are forgiving; this will help guide you towards a healthy decision on the matter.